Why Evolution is True Essay

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Excerpt from Essay :

Evolution Is True

What Is Evolution?

This chapter highlights the six elements that make up evolution: 1) growth/evolution; 2) gradualism; 3) speciation; 4) shared origins; 5) natural selection; and 6) nonselective evolutionary change mechanisms (Coyne, 2009). Of these, the foremost is the evolution concept itself, which implies genetic modification of any given species with time. To elaborate, over a number of generations, species of animals may transform into a rather different animal because of DNA modifications whose origins lie in the mutation process within the body. The gradualism concept constitutes the second element of the theory of evolution. Over several generations, a significant evolutionary transformation occurs in the species (e.g., reptiles' transformation into birds). The subsequent elements may be considered two halves of one coin. It is an incredible and unbelievable fact that although innumerable living species exist, each and every one has a few common basic characteristics, including the biochemical routes utilized by all to generate energy, the standard 4-letter DNA codes and the way this is deciphered and converted into proteins within the body (Neuner, 2012).

The above fact is in line with my personal belief that all species can be traced back to one common ancestor, which possessed the aforementioned characteristics that were then inherited by its descendants. However, if the process of evolution only entailed slow genetic transformation in a species, the world would have had just a single, greatly-evolved species descended from the original species. The reality is different -- our world has more than 10 million existing species, while another 250,000 are now fossils. The life forms on earth are diverse, which raises the question of how diversity springs from a single ancestral form. The third evolutionary concept of speciation (splitting) helps answer this question (Neuner, 2012).

Coyne's vehement argument that evolution represents a true occurrence is correct. Every evidence collected since the time of Darwin clearly points to the fact that life forms on Earth evolve and every species is related to other species. The belief that evolution isn't true and has no impact on our species is an illogical one. But Darwinism and evolutionism are two different things, and it is at this point that Coyne's work is misleading. One must note that Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was also an evolutionist, who came before Darwin's time. Further, Darwin was influenced by Lamarck, and believed in organ disuse and use. Biologists are expressing increasing discontent with the traditional Darwinism Coyne supported and Pinker, Dawkins, Dennett and other important Darwinian publicists incarnated. Experts increasingly accept that there is a need for a more pluralistic approach to evolution; this explains the emergence of Third Way evolution (Vecchi, 2009).

2. Written in the Rocks

Professor Jerry Coyne provides a clear rationale for the fossil record's absolute support of evolution and opposition to creationism, in spite of being essentially incomplete. Creationism proponents typically cite the argument of the missing link in the chain, asserting that the lack of transitional beings between plant and animal groups presents a challenge to the evolution argument. But Coyne disagrees; he claims paleontologists are constantly discovering transitional forms of which the most recent is the much publicized Ida flourished before huge crowds of people by New York's famous Natural History museum. Such fossils provide us with an idea of the assumed missing links' nature. Throughout Coyne's account are peppered references to different findings. For example, paleontologists have unearthed fossils to prove amphibians evolved from fish and birds from reptiles. In this chapter of the book, the professor also refutes another longstanding and commonly-cited argument against Darwin's theory of natural selection: that it fails account for biological innovations as this sort of explanation would necessitate proof of every intermediary phase's adaptive benefits. The naturalist supports Darwin's theory by tackling the typically utilized example of a bird's wings: how would one percent, twenty percent, or fifty percent of one/two wings prove beneficial to any animal? Coyne offers quite a hypothetical although convincing scenario, substantiated by startling fossil evidence from China with regard to the evolution of feathers and flight, which ought to prove to creationists that their case against Darwin's school of thought is erroneous (Vecchi, 2009).

My personal view is that fossil formation is a simple phenomenon needing a highly specific group of circumstances. Firstly, an organism's carcass needs to reach a water body, descend to its bottom, and be covered swiftly with sediment (which prevents its putrefaction or susceptibility to scavengers). Considering all the above conditions, one has to expect fossil records to be partial. But how far is it incomplete? Naturalists estimate the overall number of plant and animal species that inhabited the earth from its very beginning at somewhere between seventeen million and four billion. As paleontologists have only unearthed about 250,000 distinct fossil species, the fossil evidence on hand is of a mere 0.1-1% of total species, which is not exactly a reliable sample of species' history. Still, there are sufficient available fossils to provide researchers with a sound understanding of the progress of the evolutionary process and of how key groups separated from each other (Neuner, K. (2012).

3. Remnants: Vestiges, Embryos, and Bad Design

This chapter explicitly reveals that a number of biological actualities like atavisms (like the tail in the human body), cases of poor design (like the Fallopian tube-ovary gap in humans) and organs without any clear function (like the appendix) can only be explained by evolution. They demonstrate unavoidable proof of a shared ancestry, telling us a vital tale about the evolutionary process and how it usually alters old phenotypic and genetic characteristics for diverse reasons or no reason at all through the addition and deletion of features (Vecchi, 2009).

According to Coyne, vestiges may be described as a species' characteristic which was a revision within its forebears, but totally lost its utility or was allocated for a different use (like in the ostrich's case) (Coyne, 2009). The characteristic is considered 'vestigial' on account of the fact that it has ceased to carry out its original intended function and not because it has become functionless. (58) Thus, the appendix found in the human body is merely the vestige of a body part that was extremely vital to humanity's 'herbivorous' forebears, but has no actual value to humanity now. "Bad design" represents the idea that, had species' creation been done from scratch using biological building units of bones, nerves, muscles, etc., the flaws evident in them wouldn't have arisen (Coyne, 2009). An accomplished, smart designer would design things perfectly. But since flaws are evident, it indicates evolution. This, indeed, is just what is to be anticipated from the evolutionary process (Neuner, 2012)

In my opinion, considering the matter's sensitivity, there is a need to emphasize the fact that no biologist questions natural selection's significance in the field of biology. Selection occurs at all times, unavoidably and inescapably. Such a fundamental change in basic tenets as witnessed in the field of physics at the nineteenth century's end is impossibly in the field of biology, as Darwinism is, to a large extent, true. The key point, however, is: selection isn't an independently occurring phenomenon and it definitely doesn't occur as neo-Darwinians say it does (Vecchi, 2009).

4. The Geography of Life

Chief evidence for this chapter comes from the biogeography discipline. Living beings' distribution and diversity patterns again reveal, in the soundest terms possible, that life is evolutionary in nature. Geological and biological proofs align with one another and, without doubt, lead, according to creationists' distorted view, to a novel conspiracy theory. However, the bio-geographical evidence is extremely sound (Vecchi, 2009). It has, in fact, become so strong that creationists are yet to present an article, book, or speech that attempts at refuting it. But creationists just look the other way and behave as though such proof is non-existent. There are now answers to several questions that, in Darwin's time, could not be explained, owing to a couple of developments Darwin never envisaged: molecular taxonomy and continental drift (Coyne, 2009). There has been no reliable justification on creationists' part (whether Noah's Ark creationists or others) for why distinct kinds of animals come in similar forms within different areas. They simple suggest their creator's unreadable thoughts. However, evolution accounts for this pattern by calling upon the straightforward convergent evolution process. Species residing in similar environments encounter similar environmental selection demands and hence, might converge or evolve similar revisions, ending up looking and behaving quite alike despite being unrelated. (94) The convergent evolution phenomenon demonstrates 3 evolutionary theory components functioning together: shared ancestry, natural selection, and speciation (Neuner, 2012).

As I believe in the process of evolution, species residing in a particular locality ought to descend from prior species residing in that very locality. Thus, if the upper rock layers of any area are dug, paleontologists ought to unearth fossils resembling the animals that reside there in the present day, which is actually the case.

Creationists struggle to justify the above patterns using their line of thinking. They will…

Sources Used in Document:


Coyne, J. A. (2009). Why evolution is true. Penguin

Neuner, K. (2012). Why Evolution Is True - Notes & Review. Retrieved November 22, 2016, from https://vialogue.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/why-evolution-is-true-notes-review/

Vecchi, D. (2009). Review - Why Evolution is True. Retrieved November 22, 2016, from http://metapsychology.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=book&id=4953

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